Daniel Fish, the innovative director of theater, opera, and film, has collaborated with designer Jim Findlay to create Who Left This Fork Here, a new interdisciplinary work inspired by the psychological and emotional themes of aging and mortality in Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters.
The play is set for four performances only, Wednesday, December 9, through Saturday, December 12, at 7:30pm at Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC)'s Howard Gilman Performance Space, 450 West 37th Street.
Seeking to blur the boundaries between theater and video, Who Left This Fork Here explores the dehumanized character of big data and the intimate emotions felt by people at different stages of their lives. Fish's process incorporates live, online, and recorded translation of Chekhov's text; repetition of language; the national debt clock; live Twitter feeds; and a vast group of collaborators including the actors, visual artists, and mathematician J.B. Michel. The lighting design is by Christopher Kuhl, and the costume design is by Terese Wadden. The work has been created in collaboration with three performers, whose ages span seven decades, including Tina Benko, Judith Roberts and Auden Thornton.
The production began with a 19th century Russian play, and has steadily, drastically departed from it, circling back to its inner life, and departing again to land in the present moment.
“Slowly, gradually, the meaning of what we've been working on began to emerge, and then it became clear to me the primary themes of this new work are aging and mortality," said Mr. Fish in an artist statement. "These are themes that the opening phrase of Chekov's play is replete with: 'Father died a year ago.' "
SV’S BOB SHUMAN MEETS DANIEL FISH—AND RECEIVES A SKETCH FROM THE ARTIST:
What do you hear when you really listen to The Three Sisters?
I hear people trying hard, maybe too hard, to live their lives.
What does a translation need to accomplish for you?
I am not using a translation of the play but rather a few small fragments of it that fuse different translations. There is very little of Chekhov’s dialogue in the piece.
Do you believe that Stanislavski’s psychological realism should be honored in directing Chekhov?
Whatever works and moves you.
Where are you from?—tell us about your training.
I was born in New Jersey. I was trained in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.
What was your first job in the theatre?
I worked for Michael Kahn at The Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C. and learned a huge amount about acting and text.
How were you lucky in your career, and what has to happen to break out as a director?
I have had the good fortune to work with many great actors and designers. They have inspired me and taught me.
Do you look for certain kinds of actors regarding your projects?
Actors who can be in the moment.
What’s the most important component in the directorial process for you?
Not judging but being discerning.
A better idea than a talkback?
A theater with a bar.
DANIEL FISH’S SKETCH
Performance and Ticket Information Who Left This Fork Here December 9-12, Wednesday-Saturday, at 7:30PM Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jerome Robbins Theater (450 W. 37th Street) Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.bacnyc.org or866-811-4111
Press: Bruce Cohen/Bruce Cohen Group.
Sketch: Copyright 2015 by Daniel Fish. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2015: answers (Daniel Fish) and questions (Bob Shuman). All rights reserved.
Mr. Fish talks about his work at https://vimeo.com/128408913 About the Artists
Daniel Fish http://www.danielfish.net/ s a New York-based director who makes work across the boundaries of theater, video and opera. He draws on a broad range of forms and subject matter including plays, film scripts, contemporary fiction, essays, and found audio. His work has been seen at theaters and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe including Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival, Vooruit/Film Fest Gent, Festival TransAmériques, BAM Next Wave Festival, Noorderzon Festival, The Chocolate Factory, The Public Theater's Under The Radar, Opera Philadelphia/Curtis Opera Theater, American Repertory Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard College, Yale Repertory Theater, McCarter Theater, Signature Theater, The Shakespeare Theater Company, The Juilliard School, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Staatstheater Braunschweig, and The Royal Shakespeare Company. This is his second collaboration with Jim Findlay and Chris Kuhl, following The Source, an oratorio with video, which premiered at BAM Next Wave 2014/Beth Morrison Projects with music by Ted Hearne.
Jim Findlay works across boundaries as a director, designer, visual artist and performer. He was a founding member of the Collapsable Giraffe and Accinosco/Cynthia Hopkins, and is a frequent collaborator with Bang on a Can, Ralph Lemon, and Ridge Theater. He worked with the Wooster Group as a company member and designer from 19942003. Recent productions include Dream Of The Red Chamber, A Performance For A Sleeping Audience and Botanica (writer and director), The Whisper Opera (director and designer), David Lang'sLove Fail (set and video design), Annie Dorsen's A Piece of Work (set and video design), and David T. Little/Royce Vavrek's Dog Days (set and video design).
Auden Thornton's theater credits include the Off-Broadway shows'Tis Pity She's a Whore (Redbull Theater Company) and Years of Sky (World Premiere, 59E59). Around the country she appred in The Seagull (Huntington Theater, Eliot Norton Award-Best Ensemble), Heartbreak House (Delaware REP) and Arcadia(Chautauqua Theater Company).
Tina Benko recently returned from Australia where she starred in Toni Morrison's play Desdemona directed by Peter Sellars at both The Melbourne Festival and the Sydney Festival. At New York Theatre Workshop, she played Marianne3 in Ivo Van Hove's production of Ingmar Bergman's Scenes From a Marriage as well as Birdie in his production of The Little Foxes. She received a Lucille Lortel nomination for playing Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in Elfriede Jellinek's solo play Jackie directed by Tea Alagic at The Womens Project. Other theatre includes: Titania in Julie Taymor's production of Midsummer Night's Dream at Theatre For a New Audience, Deborah Zoe Laufer's Informed Consent directed by Liesl Tommy, Katori Hall's Whaddabloodclot!!! and Wallace Shawn's Marie and Bruce.
Judith Roberts' theater credits include Present Laughter (Walter Kerr Theater); Richard III (Classic Stage Company); The Voysey Inheritance (Atlantic Theater Company);Death Tax (Humana Festival 2012); Medea, The Threepenny Opera (The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); and A Streetcar Named Desire (Actors Theatre of Louisville).
About Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov to build an arts center in Manhattan that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC's opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative laboratory and performance space for artists from around the world. BAC's activities encompass a robust residency program augmented by a range of professional services, including commissions of new work, as well as the presentation of performances by artists at varying stages of their careers. In tandem with its commitment to supporting artists, BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary, innovative work at affordable ticket prices. For more information, please visit www.bacnyc.org.
Baryshnikov Arts Center is grateful for the support of its generous individual and institutional annual fund donors in 2014––2015. In Memory of Sophia Adams, Pierre Apraxine, Elena Aristova, Jason R. Baron, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Lisa Rinehart, Tina and Jeffrey Bolton Family Fund, Catherine Brennan, Clyde Brownstone, Lori Cohen and Christopher Rothko, Frank and Monique Cordasco, Edoard Dejoux, Michael and Denise Deleray, Richard and Jennie DeScherer, Michael Devins, Joseph and Diana DiMenna, Debbie Druker, James H. Duffy, Jennifer and Russell Echlov, Ehrenkranz Family Foundation, Barbara Fleischman, Richard and Nicole Fortson, Sandra Foschi, Paola Gianturco, Jon Gilman & Brad Learmonth, Slavka B. Glaser, Louise Guenther, Agnes Gund, Dr. Ayele Hadero, Annie and John Hall, The Hare Family, Brian and Tania Higgins, Roger and Joan Hooker, Huong Hoang, Fredericka Hunter, Julia and Michael Katz, Colleen Keegan, Donald M. Kendall, Paul and Teresa Kim, Joan Konner and Alvin Perlmutter, Herman Krawitz, Sali Ann Kriegsman, Mark Ladner and Julie Ross, Dr. Christopher and Eleanor Lange, Charlie and Lorie Levy, Jarrett and Maritess Lilien, Julie Lilien, Jane Lipton, Jane & Richard Mescon, Valerie and Stuart Mogul, In Honor of Natalie Moody, Aidan Mooney, Elizabeth Osha, Irina Pavlova, Steven and Michèle Pesner, Steve and Randi Piaker, Hubert and Joanna Parzecki, Aidan and Elizabeth Quinn, John S. Rockwell, Leslie Ruff, Dorothy Scheuer, Wallace Shawn, Jeremy Smith, Christina Sterner, Jennifer Tipton, Ian and Jack Archer Watters, Mary Waters, Suzanne Weil, and World Wide-Holdings Fund in The New York Community Trust, in honor of Victor Elmaleh. Affirmation Arts Fund, The AG Foundation, American Chai Trust, Anonymous, Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust, Capezio-Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, Citizens of Humanity, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Enoch Foundation, J.C. Flowers Foundation, Ford Foundation, Marshall Frankel Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Irving Harris Foundation, Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust, The Jim Henson Foundation, Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, Kent-Lucas Foundation, Kiwi Partners, George Lucas Family Foundation, The Luce Della Vite Estate in Montalcino, Italy, The Lupin Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts/National Dance Project, New York Community Trust, Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation, Princess Grace Foundation-USA, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, James E. Robison Foundation, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Thompson Family Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Walter Family Foundation. Baryshnikov Arts Center is also grateful for support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Funding is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Yamaha is the official piano of the Baryshnikov Arts Center As of October 30, 2015